Finance and debt management
Managing your finances
If you realise gambling is a problem for you, handing over your finances to a trusted person such as your partner, a close friend or family member is an option which may support you to begin to address your gambling problem. Remember that this is not necessarily a permanent solution, and please note this should not be an option if it would place either of you in danger for any reason.
Whether you’re still gambling or you’ve stopped, deep in debt or just spending more than you should, tackling your finances is going to improve your life and help you regain some control.
- Know how much you really spend
Make a list of your income and expenditure. You could use telephone or internet banking and check your balance weekly or even every day, or get a statement of your last few transactions.
- Set a budget
Planning exactly how much you have to spend on your bills, food, travel and other necessities will help you work out how much you have left. Planning to save towards a treat for yourself when your savings reach a certain amount, or when you have not gambled for a certain length of time, can help strengthen your resolve.
Also consider larger annual and one-off expenses like clothes, furniture, home and garden maintenance and so on. Online tools to help with this are available from the Money Advice Service.
Recovering from debt
- Find out how much you owe
It may seem scary and you may not want to do it, but this is the first step to getting out of debt. Work out exactly how much you owe on each loan, card and overdraft and how far in arrears you are with household bills.
- Prioritise your debts
Rent, mortgage, secured borrowing, council tax, fuel bills income tax and VAT arrears take priority. If you don’t pay these you could have your fuel disconnected, lose your home or even go to prison.
Other debts such as unsecured loans, credit cards and overdrafts are not as high priority but there are still legal consequences for non-payment. These vary depending on whether you live in England, Wales or Scotland.
If you are not sure how to prioritise your debts or are feeling overwhelmed, you might find it helpful to contact the National Debtline on 0808 808 4000, or read the advice on their website
Get help with debt
- Seek specialist help
It’s particularly important to seek advice if you are a partner or otherwise financially linked to a problem gambler. You need to find out whether you are jointly liable for any of the debts or if only the gambler is liable.
Free, independent money advice is available from organisations including:
- National Debtline – 0808 808 4000, www.nationaldebtline.org
- Money Advice Service – 0300 500 5000, www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk
- Citizens Advice – www.citizensadvice.org.uk
- StepChange – 0800 138 1111, www.stepchange.org/
- PayPlan – 0800 280 2816, www.payplan.com/gamcare/
Some profit-making debt management companies also offer money advice and access to debt solutions, but be aware that there may be a fee if you then choose them to manage a debt solution for you. Make sure any charges are made clear in advance.
Hopefully if you’ve stopped or cut down on gambling, and have started managing your money better, you’ll be able to start saving. It’s important to do your research. Picking an account that has a notice period such as a month or longer, may get you higher interest rates and act as an added deterrent if you are tempted to withdraw the money for gambling.
When you have started to recover financially
Some people find that finally having money in the bank is difficult, and the urge to gamble again is overwhelming. It can help to prepare in case you do start to feel like this. Plan a reward for yourself when you have saved a certain amount or gone a certain length of time without gambling.
It can help to have a source of support for when you feel compelled to gamble. Remember you can talk to us 24 hours a day, or join the Forum or chatroom to connect to others experiencing similar situations.
Work out your debt to income ratio
You may find this debt to income calculator, developed by knowyourmoney and StepChange, helpful.
The list below shows which financial services organisations in the UK currently offer gambling blocks on debit cards (as of 3rd June 2020). Please note that gambling transactions on credit cards are now banned in Great Britain.
Lloyds Banking Group are also working with blocking software provider gamban to offer their customers a free three month licence for the software. Customers can register through ‘Help with Gambling’ pages accessed via the Lloyds, Halifax, Bank of Scotland and MBNA websites.
|Bank||Via||Switched off via||Find out more|
|Lloyds Banking Group
(Lloyds Bank, Halifax, Bank of Scotland and MBNA)
|App; Telephone||App; Telephone (Takes 48 hrs to deactivate)||Lloyds Bank: Click here
Halifax: Click here
Bank of Scotland: Click here
MBNA: Click here
|App; In-Branch; Telephone (Takes 24 hrs to deactivate)||Click here|
Web chat; Telephone
|Speak to customer support via in-app chat (48 hrs to deactivate)||Click here|
|Starling Bank||App||App – 48 hrs to deactivate||Click here|
|App; In-Branch; Telephone (Immediate deactivation)||Click here|
|Santander||Santander Wallet App||Santander Wallet app (Immediate deactivation)|
|RBS / NatWest||In Branch; Telephone||In-Branch; Telephone||Click here|
|Cashplus||App; Telephone||Telephone||Click here|